Young Writers’ Contest 2020

After a hiatus in 2019 to focus on our capital campaign, the Young Writers’ contest is back!  This will be our fifth Academy -sponsored contest, open to Columbia and Berkshire County students in grades 9 through 12, with the goal of encouraging and rewarding creative writing by young people in our area. Categories for submissions include Fiction and Essay/Memoir sections.

This competition, with cash prizes of $250, $150 and $100 for first, second and third places in each of the two categories, enhances the authors’ program of the Festival of Books – first prize winners have an opportunity to read from their works in a special session in the author’s presentation tent during our annual literary event.

See below for rules, and to read two of the winning entries from 2018. Questions may be directed to .

Rules are simple: Students are eligible if they are enrolled in school, are homeschooled, or live in Columbia, NY or Berkshire , MA counties. Submit an original, fictional short story or a nonfictional essay or personal memoir, no more than 4,000 words long. Works must be submitted in standard size, 8.5″ x 11″ page format, double spaced with 1″ margins, and emailed as an attachment in Word or unlocked PDF format, to: . Include name, address, grade and name of school. Entries are due by Monday, May 4th, 2020. Entries must not have been previously accepted for publication nor have won an award outside the classroom.

Young Writers' Contest

Made possible in part by the Spotty Dog and Hawthorne Valley

Read the 2018 First Prize Essay by Claudia Maurino and the First Prize Short Story by Noah Goble, both of Monument Mountain High School.


First Prize: Claudia Maurino, Monument Mountain, Loss
Second Prize: Shimran Alam, Hudson High School, Dream
Third Prize: Tahrima Siha, Hudson High School, Untitled

Fiction/Short Story

First Prize: Noah Goble, Monument Mountain, Dreamer
Second Prize: Piper Nayowith, Hudson High School, The Town
Third Prize: Eva Letteron, Monument Mountain, Young Girl Eating a Bird

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